USA’s Amanda Sobhy is the lone non-Egyptian in the final’s draw for men and women at the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open Tournament. On Saturday, all finalists were decided with Sunday’s title games showing an all-Egyptian men’s final between three-time World Champion and 2012 Hong Kong Open winner Ramy Ashour and his compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad and Egyptian teenager Nouran Gohar playing against Amanda Sobhy. On a dramatic Saturday, hometown favorite Max Lee lost in the men’s semifinal to Egypt’s Ramy Ashour after his impressive run in the tournament, while in women’s draw, Malaysian Nicol David’s dream of winning the Hong Kong Open for the 11th successive year was shattered by the 18-year old Egyptian Nouran Gohar.
Hong Kong’s Max Lee has been delighting home fans since the start of the Hong Kong Open. On Thursday, he became the first player from Hong Kong to enter the quarterfinals of Hong Kong Open by defeating Egyptian world no.9 Ali Farag 11-8, 7-11, 13-11, 11-9. On Friday, the 28-year old Lee did even better and reached the semifinals by overcoming another Egyptian Fares Dessouky 11-6, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8. The home crowd went wild with Lee’s performance and they hoped their favorite player to win the Hong Kong Open Title. That didn’t happen because on Saturday, Lee’s amazing run was cut short by the maverick Egyptian Ramy Ashour. There was not much Lee could do against Ashour, the man, who won the Hong Kong Open in 2012 and is credited with winning the World Championship three times. Lee’s heroics of earlier rounds were not allowed to flourish by Ashour, who won in three straight games 11-8, 11-9, 11-6 in just 39 minutes. For his second Hong Open title, Ashour will have to beat compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad. The 25-year-old Gawad made his first ever appearance in a World Series tournament final after defeating Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly 11-7, 11-6, 6-11, 12-10 in a little over an hour.
In women’s draw, Malaysia’s former world no.1 Nicol David lost her chance of winning the Hong Kong Open tournament for an amazing 11th time. David faced world junior champion 18-year old Nouran Gohar in the semifinal on Saturday. The 33 year old Nicol David has ruled women’s squash for a long time but advancing age has probably taken the sting out of her game in recent times. Against the Egyptian teenager, David lost the first two games before bouncing back to take the third. But Gohar played strongly in the fourth to win at 11-9, 11-7, 11-13, 11-9. Gohar’s opponent for the championship game on Sunday will be USA’s Amanda Sobhy, who defeated the Egyptian world no.1 Nour El Sherbini 12-10, 11-5, 11-6. It was the second time that the 23 year old Sobhy has reached a PSA World Series tournament final after she did the same in New York’s Tournament of Champions in January this year. She lost that final to the same El Sherbini. Therefore in one sense, Sobhy has extracted her revenge. On Saturday, Sobhy’s win was emphatic and she will look forward to beating Nouran Gohar in the final on Sunday at the Hong Kong Park Sports Centre.
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